The best way to bond with the inlaws? Hit things with hammers. Preferably not each other.

My mother-in-law taught me some basic metal working skills and shared some of her tools with me. My partner and I punched out and hammered circles of copper. I’ll be turning them into a necklace in the near future.

See more at my shop:

List of Lapidary Awesomeness

Lapidary work involves a wide range of specialized, expensive equipment. Only having started learning back in August means I’m far from an expert on any of the machines, brands to look for, or what to avoid buying because it’s unnecessary.

Anyway, I thought it’d be worthwhile to make a list of the equipment I’m working to acquire and the stuff I already have. Consider it as a road map of the goals I have for myself and my shop (also, if you know your way around the lapidary and see something I’ve missed or any grievous mistakes I’ve made, you can jump in an correct me before I do something silly). Without further ado, I give you:

The List of Lapidary Awesomeness:

  1. Flat Lap Machine for Faceting ($700ish)
    I gotta be honest here- I’ve got no clue how much this one is going to cost me. I know a couple people who have gotten nice used ones with dop sticks and grinding sticks included for $700, so that’s what my estimate is going to be.  

  2. Dop Wax, Alcohol Lamp and Transfer Block ($8ish/stick+ $7 +$22)
    I’m surprised on this one- I expected the wax to be less expensive and the lamp to be more expensive. Side note, I have no intention on using a melting pot. I heard they’re messy. And almost burning my fingers off every once keeps me awake.

  3. Cabbing Machine ($1,000)
    PIXIEPIXIEPIXIE I WANT A PIXIE. I may be a little biased. I like the accessibility to move from one grit to the next immediately, and I do a lot of cabbing so changing out wheels would drive me nuts. I also like that it’s light weight.  

  4. Trim Saw or Tile Saw ($300 or $100)
    I’ve had a couple people suggest I go for a tile saw instead of a trim saw, but I’m not sure. If I can find a decent used trim saw, I’d prefer that.

  5. Tumbler ($100 I already have this one!)
    I really like my little Lortone tumbler. It’s still going strong after over a year, what a trooper.

  6. Slab Saw($1600)
    This one is way, way off in the future for me. I’ve got no reason for a slab saw right now, but I feel like it deserves a place on the list.

  7. Hemostats/Tongs($6)
    To avoid the whole “burning my fingers off” thing.

  8. Calipers and Templates (?)
    I’m not sure how fancy to go with either of these, which would really change around the price. I’ve used basic calipers, ones with a crazy dial on it, and ones that were digital before.

  9. Jewelers Loupe, Pen Light, and UV Light (I’ve got the first two, UV Light somewhere from $25-$100)
    Honestly, I don’t even know the uses for the UV light. I just see it pop up a lot and assume it must be important. I’m holding off on getting one for a while until I determine if I could use it in the shop/while prospecting.

And that is everything I can think of right now. I’ll probably do a separate post in the future for jewelry specific tool goals but I find that I can improvise more there than I can with lapidary equipment.

Actually tried dopping a stone for cabbing rather than just using my fingers. The results were a shiny cabochon and considerably less banged up knuckles and finger tips. Go figure.